Now That Lowriding Is Legal Again in California, the Police Is Doing It Too

1998 Ford Crown Victoria lowrider 6 photos
Photo: CBS 8 San Diego | YouTube
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The police officers are now driving a car that they used to ticket other drivers for. Lowriding is again legal in the state of California, and Officer Omar is enjoying it in his Ford Crown Victoria.
Southern California is the birthplace of lowrider culture and cruising. And as of January 2024, cruising and lowriding are legal again. There are no restrictions limiting how low cars can ride anymore.

The culture has been developing a dark reputation, as people started linking low riding with gangs and drug dealing in the late 1980s and 1990s, until it got criminalized. Once gone on the other side of the law, the community had to remain hidden and silent. Until their passion turned legal again.

Now, even the police are doing it. The San Diego Police Department uses a Ford Crown Victoria Classic from 1998. The model was discontinued over a decade ago, but nostalgia brought it back to the police fleet.

Officer Omar from the Community Relations Division cruises the streets of San Diego to make sure everything stays safe and legal. Everyone has the cameras out, snapping shots of the lowrider he drives. Omar got used to the attention. He knows that this is how he can get the community to trust him. By being one of their own.

His lowrider is called The Guardian. It says so on the trunk lid of the car. That is where an artwork showed up, depicting a police officer with a kid in his arms and holding the hand of another, somewhere in southeast San Diego. It is one more step to bridging the gap between the authorities and the people by offering them something that they can relate to. "It is not us versus them anymore," the officers explain.

The artwork is signed by Mayra Nunez, Star Pal's Director of Community Impact. She grew up watching the cruising culture flourish and is happy to see that it is legal again.

Star Pal, a non-profit organization designed to build lasting relationships between the community and law enforcement, also maintains the car, which was modified with the help of private donations from the community and local businesses. The car cost $50,000 to put together.

Mayra is a car girl. She even got the name of her 1981 Buick tattooed on her arm. She is aware that lowriders come with a low reputation and wants to change the stigma that surrounded them over the years.

Officer Omar has a switch in the center console to lift the front end of his Crown Victoria and another one to lift the rear. He is driving a police car that does not cause fear. It turns heads and prompts people to take photos of the car and post them on social media.

Officer Omar grew up in San Ysidro and says that driving a lowrider is the high point of his career. He turns the music loud and cruises the streets in The Guardian.

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